Enviro News - June 2010

Africa's Great Green Wall Sahara Project

Posted by Environmental News Technologies Expert on 18/06/2010 - 10:15:00

Africa is planning a Great Green Wall to counter the expanding Sahara

Plans are being discussed that would see a vast green wall constructed in Africa to prevent the outward spread of the Sahara Desert through the process of desertification.

In the latest news to emerge from these talks, it was announced on 17 June 2010 that GEF – the Global Environment Facility – would provide $119m in funding to make it happen.

Named the ‘Great Green Wall’, the project would involve an extensive line of trees stretching out over 4,800 miles across Africa, and some nine miles deep.

The tree belt would link up Senegal and Djibouti – a massive stretch – and, according to those behind it, would counter desertification by putting the brakes on soil erosion, reducing the strength of the wind and boosting groundwater levels. It would also supply local communities with a rich supply of soil in a part of the world where agriculture and grazing practices prevail.

African Green Wall

The African Green Wall talks involve representatives of 11 individual nations and are taking place in Chad. In comments made during the event’s opening moments, General Idriss Déby Itno – Chad’s President – referred to the venture as a “...project conceived of by Africans for Africans and for future generations”, adding: “It's an African contribution to the battle against global warming.”

Chad aside, the other 10 nations involved in the Great Green Wall’s development are:

  • Burkina Faso
  • Djibouti
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • Sudan

African Sahara Project

Initial plans concerning the African Sahara project first came to light in 2005. Since then, little progress has been made due to funding shortfalls and some analysts believe maintenance could be an issue once the wall is up and running.

In Chad itself, a large-scale tree planting programme remains ongoing, and has seen the capital city, N'Djamena, become encircled by trees in response to the approaching threat of the expanding Sahara.

In a recent News Item, Enviro News covered another intended response to the Sahara Desert climate change threat: a 6,000 kilometre long sand wall.

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